Russia has ordered its warplanes in Syria to fly higher to avoid being shot down by shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles after one of its jets was downed at the weekend, the Izvestia daily reported on Monday.
Syrian rebels shot the Russian SU-25 plane out of the sky on Saturday in Idlib Province. Russia’s defense ministry said the pilot ejected, fought with rebels on the ground, then blew himself up with a grenade when they got close to him.
Izvestia, citing the ministry, said a decision had been taken that such planes would in future only fly above 5,000 meters (16,400 ft) to keep them safe.
It said that such a policy had previously been in force, but that the SU-25s had for some reason started flying at lower altitudes in recent days.